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By Paul Goble* for “Window on Eurasia”:
August 11 – Vladimir Putin’s increasingly erratic and apparently self-destructive actions, including most recently his decisions to burn embargoed food at the border and to block any opposition candidates in regional elections has prompted two of Russia’s most prominent analysts to suggest that he is acting out of fear for his position.
In a comment to Kyiv’s Channel 5, Andrey Piontkovsky says that the situation in the Kremlin is now “close to panic” because “the new Western sanctions hits in the first instance the Russian hierarchy” and ordinary Russians are angry about price rises prompted by Putin’s countersanctions (5.ua/svit/Rosiiski-kontrsanktsii-biut-po-kysheniakh-moskvychiv-bo-80-kharchiv-u-Moskvi-importovani--zhurnalist-89939.html).
A sign of this fear, he adds, is that “even [government] propaganda is not supporting the destruction of foodstuffs very actively.” That is because people would be offended. And consequently, he suggests as he has elsewhere that those around Putin are increasingly thinking about removing him if they cannot change his direction.
Also today, Liliya Shevtsova says that the Kremlin is showing “fear” by its “shift in the Duma elections, its refusal to allow opposition participation in regional elections, the destruction of the Constitution, the creation of a ‘legal’ basis for arbitrary action, the creation of enemies for putting Russia under martial law and the blackmail of the rest of the world” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=55C99BB1D4210).
And she asks why many Russian commentators instead of offering an alternative to Putin are instead explaining what he is doing and thus implicitly encouraging people to simply wait him out. Why should anyone be helping Putin and his regime “to overcome its fear?” That is more than a simple error; it is a fundamental mistake....................
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